YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=JvBRe5IuRBU
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Duration:03:44
Uploaded:2017-04-28
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When people ask me how they can trust anything anymore it just makes me so sad. Yes, publications have a perspective, acting without bias in our world is impossible. And I get frustrated when i see papers not trying to present themselves without bias the way they used to.

But the idea that the "Mainstream Media" is the more corrupt of the institutions spreading information these days is nuts. I have watched papers come after YouTube for what I see as a mostly manufactured story. But these larger institutions have far more protections against reporting false stories, and a far greater responsibility to the truth than today's "non-mainstream" options.

These other options tend to be driven entirely by ideology or profit with basically no responsibility to the truth. But they've succeeded handily in breaking down the credibility of the press, which is in turn breaking down the credibility of truth in general.

So, if I didn't answer it for you in the video, let me answer the question in the title now. If you are looking at news, actual news and not an op-ed, you can trust the information reported in mainstream media FAR MORE than almost anything else. It may have a perspective, but the information itself will be trustworthy.

And I am happy to take a stand for an institution that I honestly think we would be screwed without (even if a couple bits of it have taken unnecessary swipes at YouTube in the past few weeks).

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Good morning John. So, I'm watching a scary thing happen, not just in my country, but with my peers and my friends. This fairly new, I think, sense that all expertise is false. That you can't trust the government or the media or scientists or even charities, everything is fake. 

We get a dozen question a week on Dear Hank and John from people who start out saying: "Look I know that I have to get to the bottom of every single story myself because, of course, you can't trust anyone anymore." If that has become the case, we are absolutely screwed. No one get to the bottom of everything, in fact that's what experts are there for!

Journalists and international organizations and scientists and the government, these are experts that have been tasked by society with getting to the bottom of different kinds of things. And there are all groups that, more and more, it seems we feel we cannot trust. 

What can we trust then? Well, mostly, whatever narrative we've already signed up for. If things fit into it, we shout them around, and if they don't, we quietly ignore them. The causes are this are plentiful. It's human nature, it's the result of a fractured system of information sharing. Government has, of course, and almost traditionally deteriorated its own credibility by focusing more on winning than governing, and news media has destroyed its own credibility and also everyone else's by focusing on cheap, easy things that people gobble up like candy, mainly opinion pieces and shouting matches between people who are paid to disagree with each other. 

This is, at least, in part, because the financial model that supported journalism as well as the editorial control that newspapers once had over what people saw first, simultaneously fell apart. When we're on the internet, we rarely look at a front page, we mostly look at what's on our feed and what goes into a feed isn't controlled by experts. It's often controlled by our worst instincts. It turns out when the hive mind decides what's on the front page, it becomes drama and opinion and controversy and demonization of the other and self-congratulation. And thus the hot takes have gotten so hot, I'm worried the whole country's gonna catch fire. 

But if you actually pick up a physical newspaper or a magazine, like, none of that's the news! On the front page of an actual mainstream newspaper or inside of a magazine, like The Economist, what you find is valuable, expensive, expert-driven, truth telling. Like who knew! I had forgotten. Important things about Venezuela or Yemen or why Americans are dying younger. 

If you read peer-reviewed articles, if you find a politician who will actually talk with you, if you find a news source that is mainstream and actually read the news that's there, by and large you find that experts are actually experts. 

Look, sometimes reporting is bad or incomplete or inflammatory. But if the Wall Streeet Journal publishes a piece that's isn't good reporting, which they have, that doesn't mean that everything in the Wall Street Journal is garbage and it certainly doesn't mean that everything in every newspaper is garbage. We should hold journalists accountable for the work they do, but we shouldn't just throw them out. We need them.

It feels like we're starting to live in a world where media critics are the news themselves. People who attack expertise, without any desire, let alone ability to, replace expertise. And thus we get the high of feeling like we're better than the experts without having to be experts on anything except for, like, drama and controversy. 

I'm not saying that there isn't a problem in the news media, that there's nothing to be fixed. But man, am I sick of watching people ignore the tremendous amount of value that journalist provide for our country and our world.

The destruction of expertise and all the terrible things that have come with it from feeling personally ill-informed, to electing a reality TV star president, to continuing to deny the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced is all our fault. It is, at the very least, my fault. I choose a preference for the op-eds and the hot takes. I get confused about what news is. I look at what I read, and I think I can't trust the mainstream media anymore! But I am choosing to read the crap!

They're providing the crap, which maybe they shouldn't, but they have to, because it's what people read. And if they aren't getting it from mainstream media, they'll get it from the other guys. 

Trustworthy journalism driven by expertise is out there. It's right where nobody's gonna read it, buried deep down, on the front page. 

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.